Spanish settlers first arrived in Isla-Mujeres (Island of the Women) during the 16th century, and today this small island carries a population of a little over 12,000. In the waters of Isla Mujeres is world class snorkeling and scuba diving with the Underwater Museum and the Meso-American Barrier Reef. On the water is the opportunity to jet ski, kayak, paddle board and or swim in the clear warm inviting waters of the Caribbean. The island itself is only7 km long and 650 Meters wide, but it is just big enough to justify renting a golf cart for the day as your get around vehicle. While on the island, there are plenty of great places to sightsee, great dining, beverage spots and of course shopping. For those of you who would just like to relax, there is the gorgeous beach and the eateries that reside beachside as well.
With an island this small, you might be asking, “what is there to sightsee?” For a start, there is the cemetery which is unique in that a resident pirate named Mundaca made his tombstone and then died in Merida leaving an open grave that still awaits his arrival. The turtle farm is open daily 9-5, and for a mere 30 pesos (less than 2 dollars) you can see the turtles from egg to adult. A visit to the north beach or Playa Norte will reveal the beautiful aqua waters and sandy beaches that would have remained hidden if you hadn’t made the trip. Avenue Hidalgo is the islands version of New Orleans Bourbon Street, and it does deliver. At the southern end of the island are the ruins of the Temple to Ixchel - goddess of the moon. In 1988 Hurricane Gilbert reduced the temple to what it is today and almost succeeded in finishing it off.
If the island doesn’t provide you with enough thrills, the best treat presents itself in the water with a set of snorkeling mask and fins. Once out on the Great Mayan Reef, hours can slip by while viewing all of what the marine life surrounding Isla Mujeres has to offer. Since you are out on the water, a must see is the Underwater Museum which contains what is probably one of the most prolific underwater art exhibits created by man. With almost 500 cement sculptures, it is definitely worth a peak.